John North has died ...: Historian of science who made spectacular raids into archaeology, art and literature





John North's work illuminated the history of science from its earliest beginnings to the present day. As well as making important contributions to the history of astronomy and cosmology, he used his remarkable powers of scholarship to recover lost worlds of thought in archaeology, literature and art, publishing strikingly original interpretations of Stonehenge, Chaucer and Holbein.

Born in Cheltenham in 1934, North spent most of his early life in Yorkshire. From Batley Grammar School he went to Merton College, Oxford, to read mathematics, but changed to PPE in order to study philosophy. After teaching in Derbyshire, and passing an external London degree in maths, physics and astronomy with distinction, he taught physics at Magdalen College School, Oxford. He then won a Nuffield Foundation fellowship, held at Oxford University from 1963 to 1968, which allowed him to devote himself to research on the history of science.

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